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Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America

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In this excellent book Charles Ferguson explains how America went from the worlds dominant economic power in the 1950/60`s to its present deficit ridden, broken and conflicted state.He shows that there are a lot of reasons and the book really shines in covering the whole story rather than focusing on individual issues. I found more specialized reading in for example, "All the Devils are Here" by McLean & Nocera (a deep analysis of the sub-prime story), or "Griftopia" by Taibbi (better on some special interests - particularly the health care lobby) or "It Takes a Pillage" by Prins (very good on the legislative enabling of the new millennium bubbles. ie the removal of Glass Steagall and the SEC approval of 30:1 leverage) but Ferguson is better for an overview.He clearly shows how new technology, generalized overseas outsourcing and the capture of both political parties by special interests have wrecked the United States economy for the 95% of people who do not benefit from these trends. In fact he describes the American Special Interest Kleptocracy very well noting for example on P295 that "..... despite the fact that U.S. corporate earnings reached a historical record of 14% of GDP in 2011, federal corporate tax receipts were near historic lows, at less that 1.5% of GDP." really illustrating the American politics is nothing more than an entertaining puppet show with real power lying in special interest groups that successfully threaten and bribe both Democrats and Republicans. In the chapter "America as a Rigged Game" he goes into this in some detail with his analysis matching closely the classic special interest text, "The Rise and Decline of Nations" by Mancur Olson, and on page 301 he further shows the futility of expecting "Change" by listing the key appointments of President Obama's first administration, most notably Lawrence Summers (hedge fund investment banker, Goldman Sachs consultant and wrecker of Glass Steagall), Tim Geithner (ex Kissinger Associates and protegé of Summers and Rubin at the Treasury as they enabled the bubble economy) with his assistants Mark Patterson (ex Goldman Sachs lobbyist), Lewis Sachs (billionaire hedge fund operator), Jeffrey Goldstein (private equity executive) and Matthew Kabbaker (Blackstone private equity executive), plus the new chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler (ex Goldman Sachs and active in the removal of derivatives legislation). And the list continues in the same vein.There are (in my opinion) some weak points in an otherwise excellent book:The author doesn't give much weight to the demand side of the bubble economy. When new speculative games arrive such as internet stocks or house flipping, the public always wants to participate with large amounts of borrowed money so in a sense the banks/Wall St/Federal Reserve are creatively fulfilling demand (while also admittedly causing it with low interest rates). There's a long history to this dynamic as shown in Edward Chancellor's superb book, "Devil take the Hindmost".Ferguson could also have been stronger on remedies, the most notable one perhaps being an independent "Guardian" class of administration official who would be drawn from people trained in independent colleges with regard to the interests of all Americans, where general societal success measured by international benchmarks outweighs special interest profits. Commercials can continue being commercials but never in high government positions. All the same, the book is highly recommendable and shows the extreme difficulty that the United States is going to have to 1) pay off its vast debts (probably never going to happen) and 2) get special interests out of its political system.
The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs

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The author shows the United States to be a captive of its Golden Age, and what an age it was. 1950's America was the world's military and industrial leader, the dollar was the de facto world currency, Detroit was generating a new middle class and America's European and Asian competitors were recovering from wartime destruction with no immediate possibility of challenging American supremacy. Unger considers that this overwhelmingly powerful narrative has governed American policy ever since with only a few moments of self doubt (e.g. the Oil Price Shock of the 1970's and the Vietnam War), and he suggests that it accounts for the increasing separation from reality of the American government and the public from the 1970's onwards. The unwelcome reality is that free trade benefits the lowest cost and highest quality industrial manufacturers and the US loses out on both counts to China and Japan/Germany respectively, plus combine this with an extreme free market ideology that unequivocally puts outsourcing corporate profits ahead of any national interest and you have a magical increase in unemployment and budget/trade deficits. Add in extreme Congressional special interest pork barreling and the US simply looks wasteful, inefficient and broke.The author's emphasis is on the military-industrial complex that has done so much wasteful spending and which is so central to the "America First" narrative. The book documents the marginal threats faced by the U.S. following the fall of Soviet Communism and the way that these have been ridiculously inflated into a permanent "War on Terror" that somehow needs more nuclear aircraft carriers or stealth bombers at the unbelievable price of $ 3.2 billion each.The author considers that the United States had a chance to change direction under the Carter administration, with Carter speaking frankly about the challenges facing the U.S. and the need for a forward looking policy and national sacrifice. However, this was predictably seen as weak and wimpy and buried by the Reagan's "Bring back the 1950's" Stand Tall rhetoric with the party moving on to giant deficit financing with minimal government oversight. It's a very good book but in my opinion it has some major faults. One is that a government can't engage in large scale deficit financing if no one will lend it the money, Unger says that, "..... thanks to the dollar's special reserve role as an international reserve currency and America's sterling reputation for political and financial stability, foreign savings and surpluses kept flowing inwards to pay the bills for America's government and private consumption." when the real reason is probably that Americas's asian creditors recycled their dollars into American assets (bonds) to keep their currencies at an artificially low rate against the dollar in support of their export industries (i.e. they were cheating) and had no particular respect for the US financial system.A second is the single favourable paragraph he gives to U.S. multiculturalism despite the obvious harm to society of identity politics and "Culture Wars" . He doesn't seem to see any problem in the every man/ company/ethnic group for itself idea and the destruction of the "General Interest" concept. He could for example have asked whether Rubin, Summers and Greenspan (while simultaneously Secretary of the Treasury, Deputy Secretary and Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Clinton) had a greater loyalty on ethnic, financial and social grounds to Wall St. investment bankers than the American public that they were hired to represent (and so obviously failed to protect).Equally, the book would have been improved if he had clearly said that Jewish activists in and around the government provided critical support for the WMD, and Al Qaeda bases in Iraq stories and made a major efforts to enable the invasion and sideline Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. This was pure ethnic special interest action designed to benefit the Israeli right wing and had nothing to do with any "Building Democracy" argument or the interests of the United States ( see Sniegoski's, "The Transparent Cabal" for a detailed account.)
The Fourth Turning

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In this exceptional book the authors take a life-cycle view of human affairs that is analogous to the four seasons. A complete cycle repeats and runs through four quarters ; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter with each season serving a purpose. Since working together in the mid 1980's they became convinced by evidence that human societies follow a cyclical generational pattern rather than one of unbroken linear growth. The evidence is that societies grow, reach a maturity, stagnate and decline, with their particular angle being that generations can be counted from a time of major crisis with four generations (human life cycles) needed to complete the full cycle.They show that "Ever Upwards", "Always More", "Always Better" are useful political slogans that really don´t apply to human affairs other than in a narrow technological sense. Societal awareness of its success/performance/happiness is not an arrow shooting ever upwards but rather an arrow that is shot upwards only to fall to earth and (usually) be fired again to follow a similar but different arc.In American terms they see the present cycle as starting with a post WWII "American High" (1946-1964)(Spring), followed by a "Consciousness Revolution" (1964-1984)(Summer) and "Culture Wars" (1984-2005?)(Autumn) with a Winter on the way that should cover the approximate period of 2005- 2025. As in nature, each season has its possibilities and they identify Crisis (Winter) as a time for societal survival, demanding a genuine gathering together in unselfish common action.Each generation interestingly defines itself in opposition to its childhood parents with "Boomer" children looking for societal order and stability rather than the splintering revolution that was forced onto them. Equally, they show each seasonality as having a dominant ethos that is almost impossible to resist, with the most interesting example probably being the capitulation of Conservatives under Reagan to "me first" individualism and personal freedom of a late stage Third Turning. As they say, "Ideals become Ideologies" and an institutionalized revolution turns into a special interests power grab under the cover of a revolutionary smoke screen, i.e. Woodstock to Animal Farm with some revolutionaries being more equal than others.
The Servant Economy: Where America's Elite is Sending the Middle Class

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In this excellent book, the author shows the quasi-religious nature of neo-classical economics with its dogmatic refusal to consider obvious reasons for the U.S.A.´s economic problems.Towards the end of the book he makes a list of "Off The Table" issues which include for example, - serious regulation of Wall St., - abandoning the role of world policeman, - a single payer health care system like Canada´s, - industry and trade policies, - strengthening the bargaining position of workers, - with the key unacceptable heretical words being "Protectionism" and "Nationalism".Never mind that America´s main industrial competitors Germany, China and Japan have overt national interest policies with regard to protecting and developing key industries and guarding their own intellectual property. These countries don´t automatically look to outsource production and none of them allow key industries to entirely disappear overseas. The author doesn´t dispute the greater marginally efficiency from a global point of view of manufacturing in China but he also shows that the much more important (for the U.S.) income distribution aspects are "Off The Table". The reality of the situation is that CEO´s like Jack Welch have for years been applying his 70/70/70 rule (70% of research and development should be outsourced, 70% of that should be outsourced offshore, 70% should be outsourced overseas and sent to India) and forty years of determined outsourcing = an impressive trade deficit + loss of entire industries = US unemployment + loss of skilled work = dangerous structural budget deficits.And the story doesn´t stop there. Faux refers to a study undertaken in 2006 by a Princeton economist and former Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Blinder, which concluded that approximately 42 million US jobs were potentially off-shoreable, and his focus was not on manufacturing jobs but on the high-tech service occupations that were supposed to compensate for the loss of manufacturing jobs. As Blinder said, "Perhaps contrary to what we have come to believe in recent years, people skills will become more valuable than computer skills. The geeks may not inherit the earth after all." He seems to be talking about the $14 an hour waitress, pizza delivery and shop assistant jobs. The author interestingly goes on to show that economically successful countries carry out national political/economic policies. They emphasize the efficiency of government and 1) build infrastructure 2) educated their people to a high standard 3) set national priorities and employ benchmarking to see how their country compares internationally in key areas.The U,S, does none of this and is obviously failing in infrastructure, education, health costs and actively rejects the idea of benchmarking so the author suggests that it is heading down in world economic rankings rather than up.The book sees the core of the problem in the capture of Washington by special interests with their big money flooding into campaign contributions, lobbies, think tanks and even academia to buy policies that are highly profitable for them but disastrous for most of the rest of America outside the gilded circle, so much so that the role of government now seems to be restricted to clearing up the regular speculative messes and engaging in futile arguments about hopelessly large deficits.Other interesting issues that the book doesn´t cover are technological unemployment (a good book here is "The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future" by Martin Ford) and the dangerous complexity of US government in for example the tax code ( a good general book on this is "Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change" by Chris Zook and James Allen ) but nevertheless this is one of the best books I´ve read about the U.S. political gridlock.
The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country

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The author is worth paying attention to since he was right about the internet and housing bubbles and predicted the collapse of both of them.Now,(published 2012) he sees a bond bubble with the same root in FED enabled artificially low interest rates, and he spends some time on the sleazy alliance between fiscally irresponsible politicians and a currency debasing central bank.He takes the entirely believable line that large deficits can't be funded for ever by dollar printing, and that politicians will never allow the massive tax rises and/or massive spending cuts necessary to reach budget stability, so the only route left is inflation with a consequent crash in the value of the dollar and government bonds.I see some problems here with the evidence, and issues that could have been in the book but weren't.The evidence (as of April 2013) is that FED liquidity isn't producing inflation. On the contrary, the banks are channeling liquidity into speculative market bubbles rather than real investments that counteract societal deleveraging, with an obvious and legitimate question being, why should they do anything else since all sectors need to reduced debt and don't want to take on any more. The result is general deflation apart from the "bubble asset du jour" class with the evidence including falling commodity prices - particularly precious metals (which are on his list of recommended investments).He wants to return government to the basic functions given in the Constitution and he is surely right that government has got involved in many areas where it should never have gone. nevertheless, modern societies need a sophisticated "nerve centre" that is fairly large and expensive and the successful ones all have large and active governments. Because it is corrupt and inefficient doesn't mean that it isn't necessary.The author speaks as if the United States is a homogeneous country like Germany, Holland, China or Japan, when in fact the government clearly states that it is multicultural. The evidence unfortunately shows that it is fast pulling apart (see The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart. Societies like this don't seem to react well to severe economic stress. If they can't pull together they fly apart like the once great multicultural Austro-Hungarian Empire.Schiff recommends that people without capital store food and basic goods as a protection against 1) inflation and 2) societal disruption. The inflation may eventually come if a desperate government hands out wads of dollars to government workers, but the situation would probably be so chaotic that his recommendation would not work. A real possibility of dictatorship combined with some kind of civil war may well produce regimes like the Bolsheviks or Nazis who both outlawed food hoarding with a death penalty. In the winter of 1932/33 the Bolsheviks actually declared that all the food in the Ukraine was government property, and removed it, resulting in at least 3 million deaths from starvation (see Holodomor Kaganovitch in Google). A better recommendation if things go this way would be to leave the US temporarily or emigrate to a more functional country.There's also the problem of how you get from here to there. If America is to return to a simple Constitutional style alliance of States with a minimal central government (which may work) and it can resolve its corruption and cultural issues, how under a Democracy will people (particularly minorities and the poor) be persuaded to vote to give up social medicine, schools, welfare benefits etc. etc? I may be wrong, but it seems very unlikely.
The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded American is Tearing Us Apart

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In this interesting book Bill Bishop describes the polarization of American politics from 1965 onwards. He is fairly obviously a Democrat but goes out of his way to speak to new millennium Republicans and appreciate their world view.He describes the "Big Sort" very convincingly, particularly the way that Republicans and Democrats drift towards their respective majority states, or at least the majority Republican or Democratic areas within each state, and the way that this seems to happen almost unconsciously by what "feels right and comfortable" about the surroundings.One way or another Americans seem to gravitate towards two very different lifestyles; A) the city / anonymous / environmental / minority-rights / European / intellectual/ state-interventionist, or B) the country / community / traditional / religious / Constitutional / nationalist / self-reliant with Democratic and Republican loyalists dividing neatly along these lines.He shows the result as a separation and hardening of positions generating the familiar American Gridlock politics of the new millennium, and as he says, "Democracy has become so balky that the normal processes of representative government are being replaced by systems of issue brokering that are only quasi-representative"......" public policy is often negotiated among interest groups". This would be a great lead in to look at where the power went and who these interest groups are but he doesn't follow it.Maybe they're not particularly Democratic or Republican and they just want the money and the influence, but the author doesn't really go into this interesting question.The author seems to be more concerned with establishing the reality of the "Big Sort" rather than evaluating it in a historical context. He refers to the early 1970's research of Robert Inglehart at the University of Michigan, suggesting that a young generation growing up in abundance will esteem self expression more than economic growth as they seek "higher values", but he doesn't refer to the more recent and much richer version of this idea available in for example "The Fourth Turning" by William Strauss and Neil Howe.The book doesn't consider that the opposing factors of the "Sort" seem to coexist quite happily in some countries. Japan can be very respectful of tradition and community while developing leading high technologies with the same going for Germany and northern Europe in general.The author doesn't look at the fairly obvious divide between Original Americans (OAs) and Newcomers (N's). OA's were in American prior to 1900, they mostly originated from European countries and now regard themselves as Americans first and have strong links to the Constitution and American history and also provided most of the troops and leadership in the two world wars. N's arrived after 1900 and are now mostly non-European hyphenated Americans with weak links to American traditions and a preference for identity politics, non-integration and minority rights and they predictably find their natural home in the Democratic party.Equally, Bishop doesn't consider the 1965+ rise to power of the Jews as a prime example of an American special interest insider group. He does talk about the rise of advocacy groups that aren't broad based or democratically controlled but he could have shown Jewish tribal self-selection producing for example the present (2013) strange situation where the eight leading candidates for the post of Federal Reserve chairman are all Jewish or married to Jews (apart from Geithner) or Jewish students comprising 30% of Ivy League university enrolment. This is a major shift of power to a non-European and non-Christian newcomer minority group (3% of the population) which is also firmly on the Democratic left.The author could also usefully have looked at the way in which the growing demands of the Democratic left generate a more extreme reaction from the traditionalist Republican right. For example he could have shown how the gay rights idea has progressed from 1965 onwards through illegality > ignoring > acceptance > protection > coming out > legal rights > marriage equality and adoption > to school teaching which is fine in a minority rights environment but is seen as provocative when legally applied traditional Americans. In general I think that the "Big Sort" was a missed opportunity but it does provide indisputable evidence for the post 1965 polarization of the Republican and Democratic parties.
The Forgotten Highlander: An Incredible WWII Story of Survival in the Pacific

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I highly recommend this account of a survivor of WW2 Japanese captivity and the slave work camps of the Burma Siam railway.Urquhart remarkably manages to come out alive after years of atrocious conditions and abuse which he recounts in a straightforward way. It was nothing like the film version, "Bridge over the River Kwai".He is liberated in Japan by American marines and his first port of call is America where he is given every comfort and encouragement which he contrasts with the zero welcome he receives in Southampton (UK). This is followed by the ludicrous demand by an Aberdeen medical board for full records of all the diseases he had suffered as a POW to qualify for a disability war pension. In return for signing with the lie that he was in perfect health they agreed to demobilize him and allow him to return home.This seems to be the real reason he wrote the book, showing that his experience was just another nasty facet of Attlee's postwar nationalized, welfare statist, centrally planned wannabe Communist totalitarian government.The author finally finds peace in his native Scotland, remaining active into old age, and recording some of the exceptional people he met while a prisoner, such as the Australian camp doctor Edward Dunlop who became famous for intervening constantly on behalf of sick men at great personal risk and introducing fairness and hope in the Chungkai camp. Dunlop was knighted after the war and eventually given a state funeral in Melbourne, Australia.
The Jewish Century

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Yuri Slezkine is a professor of history at the University of California who in this book looks for the place of Jews in the modern world, or at least in the modern world of the last 100 years.His thesis is that the modern world values abilities and attitudes that have a closer match to traditional Jewish activities which he terms "Mercurian" (transient, wanderer, trader, resident alien) rather than more settled national populations which he terms "Apollonian" (land, tradition, social obligations). He sees nationalism as an outdated concept with the Jews as the natural leaders of a new frontierless Mercurian world where "We are all Jews" and Gentiles could learn and follow the leading Jewish role.He interestingly contrasts the three major migrations of Jews in the modern world and their very different sociological characteristics; the early 20th century and post WW2 emigration to the United States, the abandonment of the shtetl for the cities of Germany, the Austro-Hungarian empire and Russia, and the Zionist emigration to the new state of Israel. However, I see a basic problem of the book in Slezkine´s equating Mercurial Jewishness with modernity. Tribalism clearly predates civilization and he surely identifies Jews as a tribal group. He actually analyses how tribal minorities survive as outsiders in societies as different as Sierra Leone (Lebanese commercials) and Malaysia (Chinese commercials) but he doesn´t deal with the obvious question of how minority tribalism works in the modern world of democracy and equality before the law.Tribalism is presented as a route to security and power based on inter-group loyalty and trust in an uncertain world, in fact rather like traditional Middle Eastern power relationships (eg. Assad with his Alawites or Saddam Hussein with his Tikritis) seeking positions of power for tribal followers or family members. The book could have shown the fundamental incompatibility of minority tribalism and democracy (all citizens with equal rights and obligations) but the author chooses instead to simply list the high percentages of Jews in influential positions in for example pre WW2 Germany or the United States. Also he doesn´t persue at all the interesting way in which the founding American (British derived) concept of individual liberty has morphed into minority (group) rights which is a completely different "special interest" concept that downgrades a primary national loyalty. He goes along with protected special interests, suggesting that national loyalty is out of date saying that, "... in America, where nationwide tribal metaphors could not rely on theories of biological descent.", which surprisingly ignores the Anglo (English - Scots) foundations of modern American society shown for example in Fischer´s book, "Albion´s Seed'; Four British Folkways in America". The argument that nationality is out of date also doesn't fit even a cursory examination of the evidence. Holland and Germany are modern societies but the Dutch and Germans are strongly aware of differing national identities (despite being racial cousins). The same would go for the Japanese and Chinese, Israelis and Syrians or Poles and Russians. Also, it is not clear how Germans can be Mercurians in pre WW1 Russia and Apollonians when they live in Germany. Furthermore, why are Germans the most commercially successful country in Europe when the author presents them as classic (non-commercial) Apollonians? Equally how does one explain the great industrial and commercial success of the Japanese who have always resisted resident (Mercurian) alien groups?The main body of the book deals with the Jewish experience in Russia, mostly after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and highlights the leading role of Jews in the revolution itself and in the top echelons of the Communist government. In fact they had an explicitly protected status until the final years of the Stalin dictatorship and the author shows that they were the most enthusiastic revolutionary activists. An evaluation of their "work" is missing from the book but it actually involved supervising the murder of the Russian royal family, arranging the liquidation or transportation to work/death camps of all educated Russians, the murder of 50% or more of national minorities and organizing the killing of 3 million+ Ukrainian farmers in the winter of 1932-1933. The later atrocity was planned and executed by Lazar Kaganovich who astonishingly only gets a sympathetic page with regard to his childhood education. Furthermore, the slaughter of the Russian and Ukrainian Slavic population was accompanied by the establishment of a new Jewish "revolutionary" bourgeoise which Slezkine documents in some detail as they enjoy their new country dachas, worship Pushkin and attend elite educational academies (the inspiration behind Orwell´s "Animal Farm").Finally, getting back to Homer, Slezkine portrays Odysseus as a Mercurian due to his wandering and use of subterfuge and trickery (doesn't modern business try to avoid these tactics) while Homer says that he was a Greek general who wanted to return to his island estate of Ithaca. He did use used cunning to defeat the Trojans and later the suitors who were laying waste to his land, so he would seem to be an Apollonian who behaved Mercurially when obliged to, and notably he killed all the suitors with Apollo's own weapon (the bow).Overall a troubling attempt to claim a leading role for undemocratic minority tribalism and blank out large sections of European and American history.
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

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In this surprising book the authors look at many aspects of modern technological development and predict enormous positive changes in the coming few decades.As they say, "When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce they´re mainly inaccessible. Yet the threat of scarcity still dominates our worldview.", and they go on to look at new cheap seawater purification, the falling costs of solar electricity, smart grids, open source maker groups, the democratization and cost reduction of publishing'/advertising (eg. Craig´s list) and education (eg. Khan Academy), mobile phone banking in Africa, etc. etc.Overall, their conclusions are very convincing, and they devote an interesting section to cognitive biases, particularly the natural tendency to focus on threatening situations combined with an inability to appreciate their probability. Modern information overload presents a multitude of possible threats = anxieties while in reality lives are safer and more uneventful than ever before.I would have given the book 5 stars if it weren´t for their finessing of the issue of robotic AI on employment. They say, ".... The old lower skilled jobs were replaced with higher skilled jobs, and the workforce was trained to fill them." They know that there is is world of difference between the introduction of farm machinery and new intelligent agent computers that can fly aircraft or provide advanced medical diagnosis. There´s an interesting discussion of this problem in Martin Ford´s, "The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future."
The Betrayal of the American Dream

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In this interesting book Barlett and Steele convincingly show how outsourcing over the last 40 years has removed great swathes of US industry and employment while enriching the top management of politically connected corporations. They gain spectacular profits and incomes while the social costs of unemployment are dumped on the American government along with the consequent trade and budget deficits.They also contrast the attitude to trade and industry of American governments since the 1980´s with those of the US´s main industrial competitors, Germany, China and Japan, saying that these countries all run a trade surplus and pay a lot of attention to nurturing national technological skills, high level training, protecting or developing key technologies and when necessary blocking unrestricted access to their markets.What the authors don´t do is ask some fundamental questions about why US corporations can get away with it.They give some superficial answers based on lobbying and money politics while the real reason (that they don´t consider) may be that a multicultural US governments function in a completely different way from those of Germany, China and Japan. Germany is German and has a clear German national narrative and history with the same applying to Chinese and Japanese.When the Germans, Chinese and Japanese governments make policy there is no question that they are considering the wellbeing of all their citizens who are in it together with the same experiences, customs and traditions (i.e, they are in a sense a family).The authors could have asked some deeper questions about US multiculturalism, especially as the British prime minister and German chancellor recently admitted that it had failed in England and Germany. It seems clear that multiculturalism emphasizes minority interests and identities over a national identity and is a sort of return to the tribalism of the Middle Eastern or African sort where groups try to grab power and put their family and tribal members in key positions to loot their country (e.g. Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Mubarak etc.)If one accepts that the US is multicultural, then Bartlett and Steele could have asked, "Who are the tribes?".The answer would be Europeans 64%, Latinos 16%, Blacks 12%, Asians 5% and Jews 3%, and the next question could have been "Who has the power?"A useful proxy here could be Ivy League university admissions giving the answer that Asians presently have 20% of the enrollment and Jews 25%. Of these, the Jews are far more politically active, so in the "culture wars" it would seem that they are the winners with the main targeted losers being European Americans (the Dead White Males) + their Constitution + their religion. The evidence seems to support this view as recent US governments make highly skewed "Tribal" type decisions. For example they launched the Iraq war on false information and paid for it on credit (see [[ASIN:1932528172 The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel]]which certainly harmed an already weak economy and in the recent 2008 credit crisis Wall Street was bailed out at the expense of the taxpayer with a key player like Goldman Sachs receiving full dollar in exchange for mortgage backed securities that may not have been worth even 20c. The interests of the United States in the latter case were represented by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (ex Goldman Sachs CEO) and it was his Jewish colleagues Robert Rubin (while Treasury Secretary), Larry Summers (while Deputy Treasury Secretary) and Alan Greenspan (while Chairman of the FED) who enabled the junk-mortgage boom with the removal of the enormously important Glass-Steagall Act that had separated investment banking from high street banking since the 1930´s. This created"To Big to Fail" and they also changed the rules to allow 30:1 leverage - but did they care if they took the gains and the US taxpayer carried the risk?The authors needed to consider how multicultural tribalism works in the US and the toxic way that it continues to intereact with an out of control free market ideology.
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